Discover Pour-Over Vs French Press – Unbiased Guide

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Poulami Ganguly

Pour-over vs French Press

French press and pour-over are quite popular ways to brew coffee. However, when it comes to figuring out their area of differentiation, you may become a little confused. To help you develop a better understanding of Pour-over vs french Press, this post jots down everything about these two well-known brewing methodologies. Read on!

Coffee is versatile, and so are its brewing methods. To plunge up the coffee game, aficionados often cross the boundaries. From lingering in the supermarket aisles to collecting world-class coffee beans to trying out different brewing methods – they do that all by bringing down the utmost delectability in their beloved cuppa joe. 

In this hunt, two well-used brewing methods have been able to snatch the limelight – Pour-Over and French press. Almost every household has a pour-over or a french press, which evidences the methods’ popularity. However, there are still many who are quite unsure about the differences between these two, and our today’s post addresses them exclusively. 

It breaks down everything related to Pour-over and French press to help you figure out their primary differences. Read on and get to know what’s your cup of coffee – French press or pour-over?

Let’s Start – Pour-Over vs French Press

CharacteristicsPour-OverFrench Press
FlavorLight, refreshing, smoothRich, robust, bold
Brewing methodInfusionImmersion
TextureGrit-free, oil-free, less acidicGritty, oily, and highly acidic
Extraction time2-4 minutes4-5 minutes
ConvenienceThough a bit technical, not complex at allNotably simple
CleaningExtremely easy to cleanA bit hassle some

French press Vs Pour Over: differences in Details

Difference # 1: Origin & Overview 

Identifying the primary differences between Pour-Over vs French Press starts with perceiving their origin and overview.

Talking about the French Press, its history probably dates back to 1923. An Italian inventor, Ugo Paolini, filed patent documents that talked about a tomato juice separator. It’s said that this is where the idea of developing a coffee pot with a press action was sourced from. The first French press was made in France, and its patent was filed by Marcel-Pierre Paquet dit Jolbert in 1852, which was officially published on 5th August 1954.

Many history buffs claim that it was the forerunner of what we know as the coffee press or French press today. Later in 1929, a Milanese designer, Attilio Calimani, patented an upgraded version of the coffee press, and it made French presses more mainstream. Since its inception, French presses have undergone numerous design modifications, and it earned its skyrocketed popularity in 1965 when it was used in the world-famous Michael Caine movie, The Ipcress File.

Now let’s introduce you to the story of Pour Over…

The pour-over brewing method was introduced in 1908 by a German entrepreneur, Melitta Bentz. One afternoon, she was sipping a dreadful cup made up of her percolator. The coffee was bitter and over-extracted. Melitta’s craving for delectability pushed her to experiment with different ways to brew, and out of this curious kick, she took some blotting paper. 

She also took a brass pot which was punctured with a nail and created a pour-over. Such an invention, isn’t it? Melitta was utterly pleased with the outcome, and she decided to bring her invention to light. Rest is history! Her pour-over was officially launched in the 1930s, and it went through a few structural modifications and adapted the cone-shaped design gradually. 

By the 1950s, it started hitting the shelves and became extraordinarily popular in the world of coffee. Melitta’s invention evolved the way of defining coffee and presented an all-new and simple way of brewing. Presently, Melitta is a well-known brand in the contemporary coffee industry, which is highly admired for its exceptional pour-over filters and equipment. 

So, concisely, French Press & Pour Over carry a different origin of invention, and due to this reason, their brewing methodology, look & feel, convenience, extraction time – everything holds visible dissimilarities.  Let’s take a tour of them!

Difference# 2: Look & Feel

French Press Parts

The contemporary French presses come with a narrow cylindrical beaker typically made of transparent plastic or glass. The beaker has a plastic or a metal lid and a plunger that fits tightly in the cylinder. In addition, they feature high-quality stainless steel wire or nylon mesh filters.

Pour Over Parts

On the other hand, Pour over coffee brewers come in various shapes and sizes, however, the general idea remains the same across the board. Pour overs typically feature a cone-shaped device that holds a filter. It funnels the water down through the coffee bed toward a series of holes at the bottom.

Difference# 3: Working Methodology

The French presses are designed for brewing coffee using the immersion method. Hold on! You don’t have to knock on the doors of Google to understand this. Here we’ve clarified things for you😃! 

Put simply, to make the most out of French presses, you need to steep coffee grounds in hot water for a certain length of time, and this steeping thing is technically called immersion. This is how you can make a mind-blowing cup of coffee using your French press: first, you need to place coffee grounds at the bottom of the French press and pour hot water over them. 

Once done, you need to place the plunger onto the cylinder. Make sure that you allow the coffee grounds to steep for a dedicated time (around 4 minutes). It will help you extract the best flavor, adding a different level of delectability to your drink. After 4-5 minutes, you can simply press down the plunger, and your French press coffee is ready. 

Simply pour it into a mug and enjoy! Don’t worry; you won’t end up with grits in your mouth as every French press comes with a nylon or stainless steel mesh. When it’s a French press, the flavor and robustness of your cup depend on the amount of coffee you have used and the time you invested in steeping it. If it’s less than 4 minutes, your cup will lack the desired flavors, while exceeding five minutes of steeping can make a bitter cup. 

*Note: The plunger with a filter is pressed to the bottom of the carafe, justifying its namesake – the French press. 

Now, talking about Pourovers, making coffee with them is pretty simple. As said before, it boasts a filter, which sits in a cylindrical shape.  When you pour hot water into pour-over coffee makers, it moves in a circle around the grounds because of the filter’s cylindrical shape. It will gradually settle to the bottom of the filter, and just like drip coffee, the hot water will pass through the filter, preventing the grinds from slipping into the final brew.

The brewing method of pour-over falls under the infusion category. It beautifully extracts the flavors, keeping the natural flavors and oils of the coffee intact. This method helps you prevent the coffee grinds from being oversaturated with water. 

Difference# 4: Pour-Over Vs French Press Benefits

The popularity of the French press in the coffee sphere points to a clear fact – it has something exceptional.  On the other hand, A perfect cup of pour-over coffee can help you change your coffee experience to 360 degrees. Take a look at this benefits comparison chart so that you can make a well-informed choice.

French Press BenefitsPour-Over Benefits
Full-bodies Brew: The metal filter of a French press lets a few microscopic coffee grounds into your cup. As a result, you get a full-bodied cup of joe, which can give you a humble yet robust caffeine kick. Extraordinary flavors: The science of pour-over coffee holds the ability to extract outstanding flavor profiles. It surprisingly proves that resorting to extremes is not the only option when it comes to coming up with something exceptionally delicious. 
The Ultimate Aroma: When you brew your coffee using a French press, its metal filter or nylon mesh allows you to retain the natural oil of the grounds, making your cup vividly aromatic and incomparably flavorful. Delightful and cost-efficient: If your will doesn’t permit you to invest a lot in a coffee maker, a pour-over is definitely your pick. High-quality beans, some hot water, and a pour-over coffee maker are all that can help you get your job done. The filter and the receptacle does all the wonder! 
Lets your barista skills speak: Though there’s a misconception that brewing with a French press is seemingly complex and scary, it allows you to test your barista skills properly. The entire process is manual, which ensures full control over your brew.Your go-to companion: You can keep your pour-over in your travel kit and brew your cup wherever you want. Therefore, if you are looking for a cost-efficient, portable coffee maker, pour-overs are always good bets. 

3 Must-check Facts about the French press & the Pour Over

Now that you have developed a detailed idea about the differences between French Press & Pour Over, here are three vital facts associated with each of the devices.

Pour-Over Facts

1. Single-origin Coffee and Pour-over – The Perfect Alley

Pour-over holds a unique ability to extract the best flavors from your single-origin beans. It proudly allows the bean’s aromas and flavors to glow. Again, it’s probably the science of pour-over which blesses it with this amazing ability. 

2. Pour-over = Consistency

Good pour-over coffee is always consistent, clear, and clean. As the water is allowed to perform the job of extracting fragrances and coffee oils in its own pressure and time, the quality of the brew touches a different degree of precision. Besides, the filter catches enough oil, which leads to a clear cup. 

3. Pour-over defines Efficiency

Because it’s made with an infusion method, pour-overs are out-of-the-ordinarily efficient in extracting coffee solubles compared to different immersion techniques.

French Press Facts

1. Uber-fresh Beans make great-tasting French Press coffee

It’s worth keeping in mind that whole coffee beans’ highest freshness lasts for 2-3 weeks from roasting. When you grind them, their freshness disappears in 30 minutes only. Therefore, to preserve the most exotic and nuanced flavor in your French press coffee, you should always grind coffee beans just before brewing. It will help you retain an incredible coffee experience in every bean. 

2. Your Mug will hold some Coffee Grounds

When it’s French press coffee, you shouldn’t be worried about the little grounds in your mug. If there were a perfect world, you could obviously get coffee grounds that are exactly the same in size. Besides, if they had an inbuilt sensor (AI-powered), they could prevent themselves from slipping through the French press filter.

You might like: Coffee Grind Size Chart

However, reality differs, and the truth is beautiful in its own way. Your French press coffee will definitely have a few amounts of microscopic ground beans, which is amazingly efficient in boosting your cup’s thickness, ensuring a fuller coffee experience. 

In case you are among those exceptionalists, who can’t stand the thin layer of sludge at the bottom of the cup, they can simply avoid drinking French press coffee. 

3. Size is always confusing when it comes to French press coffee

Have you ever heard of “some ounces of French press?” Well, even I haven’t! French press coffee is always measured in cups instead of ounces. 

Now comes the most confusing part. Suppose you have been told that three cups of French press coffee are being made. Naturally, you will translate it into something like – three cups of French press would make enough coffee to fill three cups. Well, you are wrong! 

The cups are typically measured according to the capacity of smaller European size cups, which can hold up to 4 ounces or 100 ml of coffee. However, people typically confuse it with larger American mugs. To clear up the fog, here’s a quick French press size interpretation:

  • 3 cups = 12 ounces = 354 ml
  • 8 cups = 34 ounces = 1005 ml
  • 12 cups = 51 ounces = 1508 ml 

Remember, the 8 cups press is the standard size for French Press coffee.

Wrapping up

Both French press and pour-over are amazing brewing methods that can help you enjoy delicious cups in the comfort of home. Both have a number of distinctive benefits. However, when it comes to picking up the more reliable one among these two, the choice completely depends on the preference of the drinker. 

While some may find the French press more appealing, others may vote for pour-over. Thus, before reaching the verdict, consider checking the following facts:

  • Do you like the immersion brewing technique, or do you find infusion brewing more convenient and effective? If it’s immersion, bet on the French press, and for infusion, you should count on pour-over. 
  • Are you an admirer of single-origin beans? If yes, pour-over is your choice!
  • Smooth or robust? Gritty or clear? How should your cup be? In case it’s gritty and robust, you should turn to the French press, whereas for the refreshing, smooth and clear cup, you should always hold the hands of the pour-over. Similarly, for a full-bodied cup, the French press is the ideal pick. 

Now talking about the ease of use, typically, people find pour-over handier. From the cost factor, neither pour-over nor French press will push you to break your bank. 

We’ve shared almost every update that can help you develop a clear understanding of both French presses and pour-over brewing methods. Consider your requirements well and tally them with the shared information to reach a cherishable decision. Happy brewing! 

What beans can I use in my French press?

To make the most out of your French press brewing experience, you should always pick up medium to dark roast beans.

How will I keep my coffee hot when I make it in a French press or pour-over?

To keep your French press or pour-over brew hot, you can simply pour them into an insulated tumbler or thermo-flask. You can also use a hot plate or a warmer to warm it up. However, the thermo-flask is the most recommended one because it lets you avoid heating your cup again, helping you to keep the flavor and taste of the coffee intact. 

What is the ideal coffee to water ratio for a French press?

The standard coffee to water ratio of any immersion coffee (1:17 for a standard cup, 1:11 for a bolder cup) is ideal for the French press. The same goes with pour-over. It’s worth keeping in mind that your brewing method has hardly anything to do with the coffee-to-water ratio, so you don’t necessarily need to change it. 

What beans should I use for pour-over?

Pour-over can be enjoyed at its best when it’s made of light to medium roasts and single-origin beans.  

Can I add milk to my pour-over coffee? 

Yes, you are free to customize your cup with cream, milk (hot, steamed, or foamed), and even flavors when it’s pour-over. 

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